Similar in style to Man On Wire, Nadav Schirman’s documentary plays like a thriller, weaving together talking heads, dramatic reconstructions, archive footage and two wonderful storytellers.
ow does a son of a Hamas leader turn collaborator and feed the Israeli security forces information on his whereabouts and planned attacks? In a candid fashion, Mosab Hassan Yousef tells his story directly to camera. The son of Hassan Yousef, a prominent Hamas leader, Mossab was initially anti-occupation: when his father was imprisoned for eighteen months, only to be arrested again six hours after his release, an angry seventeen-year-old son went about acquiring a weapon to exact revenge. Arrested, Mossab emerges from torture and sleep deprivation a hesitant collaborator and, codenamed The Green Prince, goes about slipping handler Gonen Ben Yitsak, the other sole interviewee here, information on his father’s comings and goings.
hin Bet handler Gonen Ben Yitsak is just as frank about his involvement too. Using his degree in psychology, he explains in details how he manipulated the young Mosab into doing his bidding, knowing the toll it takes on the boy: "When I call someone to a meeting, I’m aware I’m destroying his life." To soften the blow, he blags a friendship, becomes a father figure, encouraging Mossab to finish his schooling. Slowly, Yitsak warms to what the Shin Bet call a ‘potential terrorist’ and his relationship with Mossab alienates his superiors.
he developments are edge-of-the-seat stuff. Working on his father to accept a path of peace, Mossab’s attempts are quashed by Shin Bet, who in turn have to arrest him and shoot up his house to keep the subterfuge believable. Behaving like a thriller that unfolds in three acts, complete with twists, reversals and characters arcs, this is absolutely riveting stuff.